North Carolina Citizens for Felony Murder Rule
Contacting Your Legislators
If you're not already a registered
voter, register to vote.
Legislators have immediate access to voter
registration lists. If your name is not there your
letter may not count for much since you can't vote
If you're not sure who your two
state legislators are, click here.
Your legislators were elected to
represent you. If you want them to represent your
views in the legislature, be willing to make sure
they know exactly where you stand in clear,
Members of the legislature want to
be re-elected. Therefore, they have an interest in
listening to constituents who are willing to take
the time to express their views, especially on how
issues will affect voters in their district.
The most effective way to be heard
is through personal communication. There is no
better way to get your legislator's attention than
to contact their office personally by letter,
telephone, or a personal visit to their office.
Whichever way(s) you choose to
communicate with your legislators, here are some
helpful hints that will make your efforts most
(click once on headings to open; click again to
Letter Writing/E-mail Tips
Letter Writing/E-mail Tips
1. Be brief and
to the point. Discuss no more than one
subject per letter. Write on personal stationery
that includes a return address, and be sure to sign
your name over your typed signature at the bottom
of the page. In the case of e-mails, make sure to
include all of your contact information (full name,
address, phone) under your digital signature.
2. Use your own words. Avoid trite
slogans or phrases. Above all, do not use a form
letter! NCCFMRC provides a sample letter, but you
should adapt it to your own language and
circumstances. Make sure the legislator knows that
you are a constituent who lives in his/her voting
3. Ask the legislator for his/her position
on the issue you are writing about. If you
are writing about a specific bill, identify it by
bill number (title and author, too, if you know).
4. Keep all communication friendly and
respectful. Make sure to thank the
legislator for considering your views. Explain why
the proposed bill affects you and why you support
or oppose it.
5. Be constructive! Be reasonable.
Don't ask for the impossible. Don't threaten. Don't
get personal. And most of all, don't mention
Election Day. A legislator is well aware of the
political implications of disagreeing with their
constituents. Request that your legislator take a
specific action by telling him/her what you want.
State the facts as you see them. Avoid emotional
1. When the
legislature is in session, call the Raleigh
(Capitol) office. During recess, call the
district office in the county in which you live.
2. Ask to speak directly to the
legislator. If he/she is unavailable, ask
to speak to the administrative assistant or
3. When the legislator or assistant is on
the line, identify yourself and that you are in
their voting district.
4. State the reason for your call.
Refer to the specific senate or house bill number
(if there is one) whenever possible.
5. Explain why you support or oppose the
bill. Discuss only one issue per call.
6. Ask the legislator for his/her position
on the issue. If the legislator's position
is the same as yours, express your agreement and
thanks. If the legislator's position differs from
yours, politely express disappointment and offer
some factual information supporting your views.
7. Don't attempt to give "expert"
opinions. Just tell how legislation would
affect you and your community based on your own
personal experience and knowledge.
8. Request that your legislator take a
specific action by telling him/her what you
want. State the facts as you see them.
Avoid emotional arguments.
9. Keep everything you say friendly and
10. Be sure to thank the legislator or aide
for his/her time and for considering your
Visiting Your Legislator
1. Call at
least a week or two ahead for an
appointment. Generally, legislators are at
their district (local) office on Fridays and
holidays. Indicate the bill or issue that you would
like to discuss. Always call just before your
appointment to confirm the meeting.
2. Get to know the staff members as well as
the legislator. They can be very effective
advocates for your issues because they do a lot of
the substantive work on issues.
3. Be brief and to the point.
State your case and conclude your meeting in no
more than fifteen minutes.
4. Keep the visit friendly and
respectful; do not be combative.
5. Relate the bill's impact back to your
community and/or state.
6. Leave a one-page fact sheet
offering a concise summary of the problem and your
7. Most Important! Send a thank-you letter
to both the legislator and the staff member who
assisted getting you the appointment
following the visit. The letter should reinforce
areas of agreement as well as review opposing
views. It should serve as a refresher to help keep
the legislator aware of your position on the issue.
But remember, be nice, be cordial, be businesslike.